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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  April 4, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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this sunday, where does the fight in libya lead the rebels suffer setbacks against colonel gadhafi's forces as the white house debates how involved to get in libya's future. can and should the u.s. force the libyan dictator out? should the united states provide arms to the libyan rebels? back home, the standoff over the budget talks risks a government shutdown this week while tea partiers stand firm. >> it stops here. if liberals in the senate would
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rather play political games and shut down the government instead of making a small down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, i say shut it down. >> or will there be a deal? with us the assistant majority leader senator dick durbin of illinois. and the chairman of the house intelligence committee, congressman mike rogers, republican from michigan. then the political debate. the president outlines a broad view of when to use military force and seizes on the crisis in the middle east and japan to argue for energy independence. with us for perspective on that debate, author of the book "the prize" daniel yergin, plus the rest of our roundtable on the falling jobless rate and gop infighting over spending. with us, republican strategist and columnist for "time" magazine, mike murphy, columnist for "the washington post," e.j. dionne, presidential historian
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doris kearns goodwin and president of the national urban league, marc morial. captions paid for by nbc-universal television first some news. in a statement released this morning the commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan general david petraeus condemns the burning of the holy koran by florida pastor terry jones last month. the incident has sparked deadly anti-american protests throughout afghanistan undermining u. undermining u.s. efforts there as the focus is on the jobless rate with the threat of shutting down the government looms. >> if these budget negotiations break down, we could end up having to shut down the government. just at a time when the government is starting to recover. >> all this as republicans ready a long-term budget plan that
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would slash spending and tackle entitlement programs like medicare and medicaid. joining us now, the assistant majority leader in the senate, democrat dick durbin. welcome back to "meet the press." i want to get to the budget and libya in a moment. i want to start with news out of afghanistan. it's significant. you have protests going on this weekend. they have been deadly. seven foreigners killed. not just general petraeus but the president issued a statement saying that any act of destruction of the koran is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry. you have conducted hearings about anti-muslim bias in this country. how concerned how about what's happening and the response to what's happened in florida? >> i'm very concerned about it. i understand what the first amendment says and rights given to american citizens when it comes to speech and assembly and religion, i want to tell you this pastor with his publicity stunt with the koran unfortunately endangers the lives of our troops and a lot of innocent people. it's time to accept the responsibility as an american to help our troops be safe.
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>> what's different in this circumstance? he did this underneath the radar before you had secretary gates and clinton, the president himself, speaking out in advance of him doing it and here he just sort of did it and nobody noticed. >> they did notice. unfortunately people died as a result of it. that's the reality. you know, you can't stop a person from exercising their constitutional rights. i hope it is roundly condemned by everyone in america. this sort of hateful conduct endangering the lives of innocent people and our troops is totally unacceptable. >> do you think it will ratchet up because pastor jones has a scheduled rally against muslims coming up later in the month. >> i wish there was a way you would never mention his name again on the air, but i know that you have to report the news. he's looking for publicity. as long as he gets that publicity, he'll continue this irresponsible conduct. >> i want to stay in afghanistan and look at the map of the region and remind our viewers less we forget what our troop presence is there. 100,000 troops. there is talk about a drawdown
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come this summer. "the washington post" reported this week what that might actually look like and some dissension in the white house. headline a battle looms over the pace of the afghanistan pullout. general petraeus who i just mentioned has not presented a recommendation on the withdrawal but some documents describe a july pullout as small to insignificant prompting deep concern within the white house. what are you comfortable with? what do you have to see as beginning of that withdrawal in july to be satisfied? >> i want to see a trend line that suggests american troops are coming home. longest war in our history has to come to an end. we have to transfer responsibility of this war to the afghan people either the police force or the military and we have to acknowledge the obvious. we cannot stay in afghanistan indefinitely. it is too costly in terms of american lives and treasure. >> if this is just what might be described as a small or a token withdrawal, that's not enough?
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>> i think it has to be the beginning of a withdrawal that's significant. the president made that promise. i know he will keep it. he understands that our role in the world has to be defined and specific. we see that in libya. and that we can't engage as we have in the past in these massive troop commitments that go on indefinitely. >> would you put a number on what the withdrawal has to be by july? >> it's hard for me to say that. i don't want to endanger troops that there are. i think what the americans are looking for and the president is looking for is a clear indication we're coming home. >> we'll get to libya in a moment. i want to talk about the big budget battle. we could have a government shutdown if the two sides don't come together. is that where this is headed? >> i hope not. this is the warmup. as important as it is to finish appropriation for the next six months of this year, we have a much, much bigger battle ahead of us in the next few weeks. we don't want to see the government shut down. speak eer boehner is in a difficult and tough political position. i see the problems he's facing. we have to put this behind us. we agreed on a number as to the
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cut. now we have to agree on the component parts of it and move forward. at the end of the day the american people don't care who has bragging rights at the end of this. they want to make certain we're responsible and work together, both political parties, to meet a national challenge. >> people understand that but go behind the curtain here. what has to give? for instance, democrats are pretty upset with the so-called writers in the spending cut legislation that would deny funding for health care or block epa from putting in certain environmental regulations, deny funding to planned parenthood for example. would you be willing to vote for a compromise that included those bans on certain kinds of spending? >> i think the house republicans lose all credibility when they decide that this fight isn't over the deficit, it isn't over the amount of spending cuts, but rather it's to debate and relitigate political issues that have been in washington for decades. for goodness sake, let's get our job done. let's fund the government. there's plenty of opportunity in the house and senate to debate
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every other issue. that's what we're there for. let's not tie up our government and close it down to the embarrassment of both political parties by insisting on these writers that are totally political. >> i understand your position. could you vote for a compromise that included those? >> there are some that are totally unacceptable. the idea that we'll close down the environmental protection agency's efforts to keep our air clean and our water pure, i mean, that sort of thing is irresponsible. to close down parenthood funding is not for abortion, it's for family planning. that's beyond what the last election called for. >> no yes vote if those are still in there? >> absolutely not. >> let me talk about the politics of this. you sounded sympathetic toward speaker boehner and what he has to deal with. senator schumer, your colleague, was on a conference call with democratic colleagues on tuesday and some reporters didn't realize his microphone was open and reporters could hear him. this is what he said about how to talk about the other side and how to talk about republicans in this spending fight.
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>> i always use the word extreme. that's what the caucus instruct med to do the other week. extreme cuts and all these riders. if he supports the tea party there will be a shut down. >> you're in the leadership in the senate here. i know from my own reporting that a big part of the white house strategy is to draw republicans over the line and cast them as extreme. are you going to win that battle? >> i think some of the spending cuts they suggest goes way too far. shu chuck schumer is an indication of what happens in both parties. we talk about how to get a message through to the american people as tough as it is in this day in age and chuck was instructed folks what he felt the best way was to deliver that message. here's what it comes down to. we cannot go so far in spending cuts at this moment as to jeopardize this recovery. we have good news. last friday more jobs are being created. the lowest unemployment rate in two years. it's slow going.
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we don't want to kill off jobs. the house republican budget would eliminate up to 700,000 jobs in america instead of 200,000 on the plus side as we showed this month we would be moving backwards and we don't want to. we want to move out of this recession by creating jobs. >> let's stick with politics. e.j. dionne, columnist with "the washington post" will be on our roundtable in just a few minutes made the argument that president obama has been missing when it comes to framing the debate over spending cuts. why? >> you have to put it in this context. if the president asserted himself with the obama plan, it would be rejected. congress would say separate branch of government. we'll call you with when you need you. this is our responsibility. president walks a delicate line here. he doesn't want to go too far in pushing his idea but wants to be there to encourage congress to come to the right conclusion. president obama is doing that. i can tell you this. he has been working behind the scenes with both political parties for a long, long time. yesterday he spoke to speaker
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boehner and leader reid encouraging them don't let the government shutdown. the president's playing a role. it may not be as visible and public as some like, but i think he's doing the right thing. >> you mentioned the jobless number. we'll put the graph on the screen here to give our viewers a sense of where unemployment has gone since 2009, the peak october of that year. now back down to 8.8%. certainly an improvement with private sector jobs being created. an adviser to the president on the economy gave a speech a couple weeks ago where she was still critical. this is what she said. nearly 14 million americans are looking for a job but can't find one. unemployment is an absolute crisis. i frankly don't understand why policy makers aren't more worried about the genuine suffering of so many families. we have tools we can use to bring the unemployment rate down and i think it is shameful that we are not using them. that's a pretty significant piece of criticism from someone who is in the president's ear on the economy. is he not doing enough? >> well, i think the blame could
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be passed around. not just to the president but certainly to congress. for the longest time we debated whether to extend unemployment benefits. i meet with these people who are out of work desperately looking for jobs, sending resumes out five or ten a day in hopes of finding one. it's very, very difficult. it's slow going. we not only have to provide the safety net relief for those out of work but we also cannot cut off funding for basic education and training programs. that was one of my grievances against the house republican budget. we cannot cut off education and training and basic research when it comes to job creation. >> what about medicare and medicaid? congressman ryan is going to talk about cuts for medicaid and a voucher program for medicare. >> i can tell you this group of six senators, three democrats and three republicans which i've been part of, we're trying to come up with a bipartisan approach in the senate to address the same issue that paul ryan addresses in his budget. i think we'll come at it differently. what we need to see is everything on the table and real
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balance. the idea of sparing the pentagon from any savings not imposing any new sacrifice on the wealthiest americans, i think goes way too far. we have got to make certain it's a balanced approach and one that can be sustained over the next ten years. >> let me spend a couple minutes on libya. a major area of focus for this administration. the president sat down with brian williams on "nightly news" this week and he talked about where gadhafi is at this point. >> what we've also done is put gadhafi back on his heels. our expectation is that as we continue to apply steady pressure not only militarily but through other means, that gadhafi will ultimately step down. >> let me go through that a bit. that was tuesday. as the week wore on, we both know what happened. setbacks for the rebels. did the president speak too soon about mission accomplished in effect? >> no. don't ignore the fact, david, that this week there were major defections from the gadhafi reg
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his foreign minister left. opposition forces have a strong position in the eastern part of libya. the most important thing to recall is we gathered in an international coalition started by the arab league working with the united nations to make sure that gadhafi's days are numbered. he clearly is under pressure and will continue to be. the united states military role will change and diminish over the next week or two as we really walk away from some of the cover and some of the missile activity that we've been involved in, but we'll still be there in a supportive capacity dealing with intelligence and logistics and refueling. i think gadhafi has to understand the days when he can lord over libya and do the outrageous things like killing american troops and bringing down pan am 103 are over. his days are numbered. >> that may be more hope than reality. we don't know yet. "the washington post" had an editor al
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editorial on tuesday. the president is not wrong to limit the costs and risks and intervention in libya when u.s. forces are still deployed in two other muslim countries and a fiscal crisis at home. plan b, what is u.s. commitment if things don't go as planned and things get worse and if there's a stalemate? >> the president has committed the united states at the invitation of the arab league with their participation and with the approval and guidance of the united nations. what he's saying and what we're doing is consistent with that international mandate. now, perhaps the u.n. will step beyond that at some future time. at the present moment you would have to say gadhafi has to feel threatened by every corner. we've seized $30 billion assets in the united states closing down oil exports and cabinet ministers are resigning and lost control of the eastern part of his country, put yourself in tripoli in his position now and ask what is your long-term prospects of leading libya?
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they are very limited. >> senator durbin, before you go, i want to end on a political note. there's a question about the future of the democratic party. if you were asked, would you be the leader of the democratic national committee? >> that's not on my bucket list of things to do. senator from illinois and as member of the leadership and a person who wants to have a life too, the idea of traipsing all over the united states is not really on my agenda. >> if you were asked, would you do it? >> i haven't been asked. i'm not soliciting it. i've got a good job in the senate and a great job representing illinois. >> there's still a chance you could be short stop for the cubs, right? >> they don't need me at this moment. >> senator durbin, thank you very much. we'll turn now to house intelligence chairman mike rogers, republican from michigan. rogers was elected to congress back in 2000. since the 9/11 attacks he's had a major role in forming key legislation involving the intelligence community like the patriot act as well as developing counterterrorism strategy in afghanistan and pakistan. he was a special agent for the fbi also served in the army.
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he took over the gavel as chairman of the permanent select committee on intelligence at the beginning of this year. the committee has operational and budgetary oversight over the country's intelligence agencies. his appearance this morning comes just as news is breaking this week of covert cia operations on the ground in libya. chairman rogers, welcome to "meet the press." >> thanks for having me. >> good to have you here. let's pick up on libya and particularly about the cia's role. what are they doing on the ground and is this part of a strategy to stand shoulder to shoulder with libyan rebels? >> first of all, i can't comment on any intelligence operations any wwhere in the world. they are classified for a reason. let me back up. the cia was developed and has grown into a robust organization designed to go places where it is dangerous to collect information for policy makers like the united states congress, like the president, like the military, to make realtime up to date decisions based on what we know on the facts on the ground.
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>> the major facts are what are rebels doing and who are they and what do they need? you have said it's not a good idea to supply arms for rebels. without the air cover, can they topple gadhafi? >> i supported the no-fly zone early on as a matter of fact and support the continuation of the no-fly zone with the ability to strike targets on the ground, armored columns and other things. what we need to know is what they are. we know they are against the rebels and against moammar gadhafi remaining in power but we don't know what they are for. >> is there a terrorist element among them? >> in most middle east countries there are elements of al qaeda. it doesn't mean they are part of the government. doesn't mean they are the majority. doesn't mean they have major influences in the country in which they reside but, yes, it's a concern. we know they're there. they in the past the libyan al qaeda element provided fighters in iraq to target u.s. citizens. that didn't mean it was part of
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the libyan government. 140 tribes. 30 of which are politically active. we need to know a lot more before we give them advanced weapons. >> would you like to see arab special forces unit in a lead role rather than the cia on the ground? >> special forces and intelligence collection are two different things. special forces on the ground are designed to go and hit targets and causing some chaos if you will for the enemy. if arab league is putting those types of forces on the ground, the rebels could certainly use that help and support from the arab league. i think what you see now amongst rebels is better organization. one of the good things that's happened is we found the thousand soldiers or so that defected. they are getting organized and interfacing with rebels getting them more tactically orientated. the pressure on the gadhafi regime is intense. the foreign minister has
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defected. they are treating him well. he's providing valuable information to the british and the united states and to the rebels. at this point just by the fact he's cooperating and being treated well, more defections that will follow is adding pressure. >> you heard senator durbin talk about pressure on the regime. "the wall street journal" argued for a robust unified voice from republicans saying republicans ought to prod president obama to push for a faster resolution that ends with toppling of gadhafi and his sons from power. it represents a divided libya short of that. if there is any leader whose terrorist nature the american people understand it is gadhafi. should that be the view of the republican party to topple him? is that realistic? >> i do think gadhafi remaining in power is not an option. it's not an option. this isn't a republican issue or
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democrat issue or obama issue versus john boehner issue, this is an american issue. >> how do you get him out? >> continued sustained efforts here. the rebels are getting better organized. we're putting lots of pressure for defections and people in the regime have to make choices. they are going to have to decide do they want to be prosecuted when this is all over for war crimes or do they want to defect early on and be part of the solution for the future of libya? believe me, that's an intense amount of pressure. he's running out of money. the united states and europe has seized some $60 billion plus of assets that will be turned over to libya to rebuild itself and a smart way of going forward so we don't get embroiled in owning the problem of the cleanup if you will and we don't arm people we don't know who they are and if they'll use those weapons against civilians or maybe us in the future. you have this growing in the region fight for liberty so that these governments are less
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hostile toward the united states. there are so many reasons for us to be here and show leadership and i argue republicans and democrats ought to stand together with the president to make sure this thing ends well for the united states. >> are we in a conflict that has at its core a vital u.s. interest. i pose that question to secretary of defense on this program last week. this is what he said. >> is libya in our vital interest as a country? >> no, i don't think it's vital interest for the united states. but we clearly have interests there and it's part of the region which is a vital interest for the united states. >> part of that interest as the president outlined in a speech that a lot of people thought was about libya but about something of obama doctrine was humanitarian. you read the papers this morning about 800 civilians killed. how do we warm a policy around when we intervene and whether we don't if this is not a war that's in our interest? >> i argue it is in our interest and we ought to stand with the
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president on making a positive outcome for the united states and people of libya. the humanitarian component of it was real. it was something we should have done stopping the slaughter of tens of thousands of people that we knew was going to happen. here's something who was a state sponsor of terrorism, bombing of the german disco tech killed american soldiers through gadhafi's regime and pan am bombing, he has a chemical weapon stockpile. he has other weapon systems that keeps me up at night thinking about if these things were to happen to fall into the wrong hands. >> is libya a terrorist threat? >> i think if you have a stalemate with moammar gadhafi still in power when you have this split country where he still possesses stockpiles of awful stuff, i think you have to worry that he's a terrorist threat. >> that's significant. that's what the end game is about for the u.s. is preventing a terror strike by a cornered gadhafi. >> it's a whole host of things. that clearly has to be one of them.
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he used chemical weapons in his fight against chad in 1987. i've been in libya. i've seen his chemical stockpile. it's there. it exists. he has other weapons systems that concern us. it can't be just that. it has to be other factors. >> just a couple more points in our remaining time. i want to ask you about these protests we're seeing throughout afghanistan because of the koran burning in the united states, a publicity stunt for sure but also an act of extremism. it has real consequences. >> absolutely it has consequences. we've asked americans in every tough conflict we've had in the history of this country to be thoughtful and mindful of each citizens responsibility to make sure that you're doing your part for our soldiers to come home safely with an accomplished mission. when you do something like this clearly the first amendment protects that individual from doing that. but when you jeopardize our soldiers and the civilians who are trying to put afghanistan back together so we can come
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home, i would hope that you would stop with that bit of extremism and pull yourself back and look at the bigger, broader more important picture is a unified united states overseas. >> let me ask you about iraq. the politics there, the sectarian division is starting to tear at the seams a bit. we have 47,000 troops there due home by the end of the year. "the washington post" editorial this morning poses a provocative question which is what will happen when the last u.s. troops depart? if we leave, does iran back the dominant player in iraq? >> it has potential. they have been a very bad actor in the entire region, which i think is why you saw many arab countries both overtly and quietly support the united states from keeping check on iran's ambitions in the region. that's not going to go away any time soon.
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syria is acting clearly on iran's behalf. activities in bahrain that are very concerning of what they're doing. we're going to have to watch it in iraq and around the rest of that region. again, why libya is important? imagine now a change where you have libyans, free democracy of some sort of their choosing that is less hostile toward the united states and more inclusive of other arab league partners, that's a positive outcome to the united states when liberty is on the march we ought to be with it in ways that we can and responsibly with you we ought to be with it. >> you're a former fbi agent, what's the key quality the next fbi director should have? >> they need to understand the agent culture. next ten years of the fbi are critical. director mueller pulled the fbi along with serious changes. understand the agent culture and core value of being an investigator first and applying that to the new mission of counterterrorism. >> that experience is important. chairman, thank you very much. >> thank you.
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appreciate it. >> coming up, was the president's prime time address this week on libya a blueprint for the obama doctrine? also, all eyes on energy and the economy. rising gas prices, unrest in the middle east and the disaster in japan put the president on the offense as he tries to make a case for american energy independence. our roundtable weighs in. author daniel yergin, energy expert, republican stajist, mike murphy and e.j. dionne and presidential historian doris kearns goodwin and marc morial. that's up next after this brief commercial break. look, we've all dealt with the itching of athlete's foot.
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coming up, has the president outlined the obama doctrine and what will it mean for u.s. foreign policy? the roundtable is here. @@ have doris kearns goodwin,
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we are back joined by our roundtable. republican strategist and columnist for "time" magazine, mike murphy, columnist for "the washington post", marc morial and chairman of the ihs cambridge research association, daniel yergin. welcome to all of you. a lot to get to. mike murphy, the budget. there's going to be a big fight over the budget. we're still talking about just the spending for this year. take me behind the curtain as i try to get senator durbin to do. are we headed for a shutdown? >> a big game of chicken going on. the leadership doesn't want to shutdown but the house republicans waon an election on
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cutting spending. i don't think we'll get one of the it will go to the end. a lot of high drama and squawking. when the new budget comes out, which is the big fight, will make this look like a side show on tuesday and some of that fighting energy in the republican caucus is going to think, wait a minute, let's not gum down the big night with a six-month shutdown brawl. it will be huge and first cannon blast of 2012. >> where has the president been? >> mike laid out what the leadership is going to argue. democrats have offered depending on how you want to count it, $73 billion in cuts republicans want 61 billion. democrats have gone more than halfway. they think they can cut 33 billion without hurting their big priorities head start, scholarships and the like. this puts a burden on boehner. boehner wants to get out of this round into the next one. he is going to argue that the ryan budget which they accelerated is a slash and burn budget, my words, not boehner's
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and this should really satisfy the tea party. i think it will be a terrible budget. the more people like me say that the more the tea party will like it and that's the test of obama. he's let republicans have too much of the running on the first round. he's got to come in on the second round against this ryan budget. >> doris, you cited how this looked before and when we had a shutdown when bill clinton is president. >> when you look at that shutdown, the side that's more partisan and looks like it wants the confrontation loses. i was reading bill clinton's memoir the other night before going to bed, i felt somewhat pathetic but you're a presidential historian and you read these things, he did it brilliantly. like obama he stayed out of it at the beginning. he said i want a deal. there will be lines in the sand i will not cross. i think it's up to obama if there are lines in the sand that he will not cross if the environment gets gutted and if education gets slashed like clinton, no, i won't do it and he has to run a pr war like clinton did. he put elderly people on losing
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medicare and then he goes to the state of the union -- >> that could be coming. paul ryan will be here next sunday. that includes vouchers for medicare, cutting medicaid, some serious attempts to deal with entitlements. >> it also involves an effort to really, really put a lot of pain on important constituents of the president. the key is that the president has to work to change the discussion so the discussion is not just cutting domestic discretionary spending but putting it all on the table. it's got to be across the board or there won't be a serious plan. >> this is how it's different this time. nothing clarifies the mind like hanging in the morning and the crisis we face behind closed doors is a serious matter. you see the beginning of a big fight. republicans will be for painful spending cuts. democrats will easily demagogue that. they are hitting taxes which is
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another way to solve the problem. raise taxes or cut spending. that's the big battle in 2012. >> the president gave a big speech on libya. the big focus was what was happening in japan. the environmental impact. future of nuclear energy. you see gas prices go up. the president gave a big speech on energy independence and this was the key goal that he has in mind. >> when i was elected to this office, america imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. by a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third. that is something that we can achieve. >> is he right? >> yes. we're already about two-thirds of the way to that. we've made a lot of progress. in fact in our domestic energy in the last two years domestic production is up which was interesting in this speech is a theme you haven't heard about domestic oil production, gas production is up. at the same time there's a political demand do something about gasoline prices and i think the other thing is a worry
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that we have good news about the economy and jobs but high oil prices may be a threat to the economy. >> it was interesting. we looked a in the top oil producing state in the u.s. we'll put it up on the screen. he ranked them there. texas is number one. we heard so much about drilling in alaska. california and north dakota. the president talked about expanding or existing oil companies using the existing leases that they have. can we get more production going with what's already been allotted for? >> i think so. you have to keep in mind it takes a long time. you get a lease in gulf of mexico it's seven to ten years before you get production. north dakota is a boom area for oil in the united states. people don't think about that. that's where we get our new technology in terms of oil production. >> how important is this? we have this rupture with saudi arabia. the president talked about keeping commerce going. a big part of his libya strategy is about protecting our oil
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interests. >> yeah. we still import a significant amount of our oil. we're down to about half where we had been higher. but there is still -- the libyan disruption is sort of not a huge disruption but a disruption. what's also driving prices is fear about everything else that's happening. yemen is a country small oil exporter that shares a border with saudi arabia and that's a risk fear. >> there's this question though about collective political will. the president may be trying to insulate himself from attack but is there the will to move forward on exploration and natural gas being talked about a lot. >> it's so frustrating when you think about the fact that nixon talked about we have to have an apollo mission. we have to have manhattan project and jimmy carter talked about the moral equivalent of war and when gas prices go down we don't have that collective will. i look back at world war ii. we were able to get our supplies
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shut off from japan and we get rubber that takes up that gap because we had the will and desire. do we need that kind of crisis to move? it's nuts. >> do we have something possible here? >> obviously the threat of hitler in imperial japan does wonders for the national will. >> we have japan. >> we have the middle east in the mess. the president was trying to talk about production here. the whole idea of conservation has receded because of nature of the congress and words missing in that speech among words missing were cap and trade. you can argue politically there's no way you will get any kind of increase in the price of carbon out of this congress. i still think some day we're going to have to come back to a combination of production and conservation. >> there's one huge problem. long-term ex-presencive oil is a good thing and moves us to other
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technologies. politically it's a nightmare. as gas prices go up politician approval ratings go down. it's a hard cycle to break. no magic answer. we can't snap our fingers and have instant solar. we need to look at nuclear. we have to look at domestic drilling. it's a diversified approach. >> i want to come back and talk more about libya which flows from this discussion and more about the economy sam higgins... you have frequent heartburn, right ? yeah, it flares up a few days a week. well, we're the two active ingredients in zegerid otc. i'm omeprazole, the leading prescription heartburn medicine. and i'm sodium bicarbonate. i protect him from stomach acid so he can get to work. look, guys, i've already tried a lot of stuff. wow. with zegerid otc, you get 24-hour relief. so, this is goodbye heartburn ? gone. finito. zegerid otc. two ingredients... ...one mission. heartburn solved.
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more from our roundtable. doris kearns goodwin, the president addressed the nation about libya. people thought it wasn't just about libya but the president's doctrine for overseas involvement. here's a portion of what he said. there will be times, the president said, when our safety is not directly threatened but our interest and values are. in such cases we should not be afraid to act but the murder of action should not be america's alone. because contrary to the claims of some, american leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone or bearing all of the burden ourselves. real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well to work with allies and partners so they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs. isn't america still the indispensable nation in terms of influence in the middle east? >> on one hand when there is something like libya, a unique set of circumstances, an imminent scale of a humanitarian crisis, we have to take
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leadership in order to avoid that kind of slaughter. yet on the other hand, we cannot be the world's policemen. he was able to get the coalition together, the u.n., resolution, and i think that's what he's saying for the future. it's not sustainable for us to be the only ones involved but we still are the leader in starting the process and that could be a way of looking at the world at large and i thk that's a good way of thinking about it. you need both leadership to prevent humanitarian crisis but you need other countries to get muscles going to be part of it. we can't do it alone. >> marc morial, we can't expect the government is going to apply this to other areas. >> i think the president played this brilliantly. in one sense he made a comment about iraq and in another sense he worked in unison with the resolution of the security council, arab league and african union and defined it as a special set of circumstances. that is the prospect of 100,000 people being slaughtered. the broader thing is whether or
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not other means other than military means could avert a further catastrophe in those countries. it's a broader statement about foreign policy and not just military protection. >> this is also a statement that if you break it you own it need not necessarily apply. john dickerson wrote this is not an obama doctrine, it's a libya doctrine only. >> it's not addressing everything going on in the whole middle east. the other difference contrast to iraq, france is in the lead here. france is not sitting on the sidelines complaining. >> this is oil interest. can you expect france to set up meaningfully because they want to secure the sweet crude. >> oil is important. there is other oil to make up for it. the other thing important to europe is immigration from north africa and coming through africa and that's something that's the politically dangerous issue for sarko
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sarkozy. >> what do you make of the speech? >> i support the policy. i thought the speech was muddled and unclear. hard to give a war speech about limits. subm i'm sympathetic about what they want to do. they are putting a thumb on the scale of a civil conflict between a dictator who stays in power with force and not much po popular support destabilizing the region and our values are with the rebels and interests are not just to stop gadhafi. even a stalemate he loses in the end. we have to align our policy to this amazing resurgence going on. the demographics align this in a meaningful way in a place to make a difference. >> in terms of war fatigue in the country, i alluded to a poll that showed 15% following the libya story compared to 57% to japan disaster. >> i had a soldier in a class i
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teach in georgetown write a paper about declining coverage of all of the wars that we have still involved in. in terms of libya, first of all, i think only a middle evil scholastic can discover an obama doctrine. he's anti-doctrine. that's his basic principle. i like the speech. if there was muddle in it, it wasn't muddle in thinking but in muddle in the situation in libya. i think he made the core point on humanitarian intervention. just because you can't act everywhere doesn't mean you can't act anywhere. i thought it was said well this morning in "the new york times." isn't it better to inconsistency save lives than save none. if you support humanitarian interventions, obama did well in that speech. >> let me turn to the economy and put the unemployment chart back up on the screen that i showed earlier to show you where we've been and where we are now. 8.8%. marc morial, the urban league put out a new report this week about the state of black america which we'll show the cover of on
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the screen when we can. there's the report one of the disturbing findings is if you look at unemployment among various groups, whites 7.9%, african-americans at 15.5%. it's actually gone up a little bit. how do you look at this war on joblessness right now? >> the war on joblessness needs to accelerate. it's premature to claim victory. there's the beginning of a recession but it's just seedlings beginning to sprout. we've had four months of job growth. 150,000 jobs per month. the worst thing we could do now is take on budget cuts that would cost us more jobs and predictions are that hr-1, the ryan budget, would cost us 700,000 more jobs. we have to recognize that the reform of the economy and rebuilding of jobs is not going to happen without continuing policy intervention. here's the thing. with almost 16% unemployment in
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the african-american community, that translates to broad unemployment in urban communities across the nation. i think that until we can find a way to target and bring those numbers down, the jobless recovery is going to continue. we have a continuing crisis. >> on the politics of this, is the president beginning to see light? is he beginning to make the argument that it's morning again in america? >> we have to give more data points. the more economic and unemployment pain a country is in, the worst the president does. that's why you see guys mike mitt romney talking 100% about the economy. we don't know yet. the trend is good for democrats. republicans in congress will say we helped bring this about a year from now if we have a better economy. he's not out of the woods yet. one thing we learned is perception of the economy and statistics lag. it takes a long time if things are getting better for it to feel better to people. >> daniel, you will question what $100 barrel of oil will
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mean to fragile economy. >> if it's a short-term thing, the economy can deal with it. longer term and you can feel the concern here, it's going to be a drag on the economy. i think the thing is in the middle east what we heard before is they have a huge age bulge and people without jobs and people without a future and i think that that means that we're probably going to have an uncertain middle east for the next several months. >> i want to get another break in here. when we come back, i want to talk about changing demographics of america and what that means for politics a รกรกรก"
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want to talk politics in our few minutes left. during our midweek conversation in my office at the "meet the press" press pass, i talked to ryan. chairman of the national republican committee. i asked what is the theory of the case for how republicans do in 2012. here's what he said.
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>> are you better off than three years ago? the answer is no. if you look behind the numbers and start talking about whether the president has taken this country in the right direction as far as the national debt, the answer will be no. as far as deficits, the answer is no. unemployment i think the answer will be no. >> you can watch that on our website by the way. will that carry the day? >> i don't think it will. it's a generally great thing. that's what reagan did that won him in 1980 so say you are better off today than four years ago. the whole obama was in before he took over, the financial crisis, they won't blame him where they were at the start. i'm not sure the general argument will work. we're better off than we were in that horrible moment and not where we want to be but he helped to get us there. >> another potential drag, mike murphy, on republicans and the national journal capture it is. i'll put the cover on the screen. the next america it says
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nonwhites are becoming a larger chair of the nation's population that has big implications for the 2012 presidential race which makes the point if republicans don't have great inroads among minorities particularly hispanic around the country, that's a huge drag on their chances. we're not just talking about arizona and california. >> i wrote a thing for "time" called gop ice age with presidential elections demographics. similar argument. it's a problem. when the number one name for male babies in texas is jose and texas is the linchpin of our electoral college strategy, it's a problem. good news for republican party is we have time and need a better position on immigration. and second the key electoral college states are competitive. you see polls now where the president is way under 50 and vulnerable in florida and competitive in ohio. we're in the hunt presidentially. the economy will be a big issue. if we don't face some of the
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bigger demographic problems, it could be my favorite statistic. you run 1980 carter/reagan race over with current demographics in america, reagan wins by a whisper and it's too close to call. >> yes, it's early, she writes, then again contenders ought to be concerned at this stage they earned some sticky labels. mitt romney, unreliable. newt gingrich, yesterday. sarah palin, flighty. tim pawlenty, boring. >> i thought that was a good column myself. i just want to salute mike on immigration. there's another idea in the republican party to deal with this which is to stop people from voting which is why you have these voter i.d. laws being put up all over the country.
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what this reminds me of is '88. they were called the serve dwarves. it wasn't fair. it caught on. i think what you see are decent enough candidates with tim pawlenty in the world due caucus. they have a problem. i think mitch daniels if he runs could be an interesting candidate. i'm not sure he's running. >> i think what will be interesting is to see whether serious republicans bypass the race in '12 thinking toward '16 number one and number two, whether or not the republicans shift to stepping back to say let's nominate the person who would have the best general election chances against president obama. it's going to be fascinating. what's interesting is it's taken a long time for people to sort of get to the starting gate and say i'm going to run.
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>> we like baseball. i only have 20 seconds left. don't know if i have time for my jayson werth video. opening day is here and all eyes were on washington. we're playing .500 baseball in washington. dodgers have taken two out of three against the giants. who's your team again? is baseball back as strong as ever? >> no question. as long as it is passed from a parent to a child to grandchild and memories of what you tell your kids when you were little. it will never go away. >> amen. spring has sprung. we'll leave it there. >> go yankees. >> we got to leave it there. before we go, our exclusive guest next sunday the man who will present the republican

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